‘In Hoover we trusted and now we are busted.’. THE GREAT DEPRESSION. The depression was a period in the 1930s when the American economy had collapsed. Between 1929-1932, over 100,000 businesses collapsed and 15 million people became unemployed.
In your notes draw a spider diagram to show these factors.
The car industry was hit hard. In 1930 car production dropped by 30%. Within a year it had dropped by a further 29%. By 1932 production levels were at their lowest since 1918. Many went bankrupt.
Private charities like the Salvation Army provided soup kitchens for the unemployed. They nicknamed it ‘Hoover stew’.
Shanty towns like the one below appeared in cities all over America. They were known as ‘Hoovervilles’.
Americans had lost faith in the hard-hearted Republican attitudes towards welfare.
The Dust Bowl affected the states of Texas, Colorado, New Mexico, Kansas and Oklahoma. By the 1930s the top soil had became loose due to the planting of wheat during the boom and over-grazing of livestock. High winds and dust storms swept away the top soil of the land and combined with a 7 year drought that began in 1931, destroyed many livelihoods.
1932 – Bonus marchers staged a protest to claim the bonus money promised to them for fighting in the war. They camped around the White House in tents they called ‘Hoovervilles’. Hoover eventually instructed the army to break up the protest using tear gas and tanks!
1. What happened to unemployment:
2. Which group tended to be less affected by unemployment?
3. What relief was available to the unemployed from local / state governments and charities?
Life of the unemployed
4. List the key points of evidence given by William Foster on life for the unemployed.
6. Why were people insecure?
7. “People went hungry in one of the richest food producing countries in the world”. Why?
8. What were ‘Hoovervilles’?
9. How did Hoboes live?
10. How did unemployment affect:
11.How did the government respond to the Bonus Army?
"It is not the function of the government to relieve individuals of their responsibilities to their neighbours, or to relieve private institutions of their responsibilities to the public." Hoover.
E.g. Arkansas – schools closed for 10months a year in a bid to save money
Hoover remained hopeful about the situation, claiming in March 1930 that the worst “effects of the crash upon unemployment will have passed during the next 60 days” – this created RESENTMENT and he lost CREDIBILITY.
RECONSTRUCTION FINANCE CORPORATION was Hoover’s greatest effort to combat the effects of the Depression.
Pro’s – Loans to State government - $1.5 billion for public works and $3000 million for relief. $150 million loans to businesses to increase employment. $2 billion in loans to banks, railroad and construction and insurance companies on the brink of collapse (70% of which went to small town banks)
Cons – Help was aimed at big business instead of individual poverty. Some argued more should have been spent on relief.